Blog Archive



Friday, March 11

Thank you and goodnight

Just to say I am no longer going to be blogging about life here on the Finca.  All news updates can be found on my Life in the Extreme page on Facebook.

After two years of posting, the time has come to think of something different, after all, there are only so many things to say about cooking, fiestas and animals, without it becoming repetitive.

Many thanks for all your kind words and support

Hasta Luego

Wednesday, February 3

Siguiendo tradiciones...........................The Blessing of the throats.....................................

One of the things that I love about living here in Spain is the century old traditions, that continue on even in this modern age. 

 Here in our village, last night was the start of the Fiesta San Blas.

Saint Blaisé (San Blas) 

 San Blas was the bishop of Sebaste in Armenia during the fourth century. Very little is known about his life, but according to various accounts, he was a physician before becoming a bishop. His fame spread throughout the entire Church in the Middle Ages because he was reputed to have miraculously cured a little boy who nearly died because of a fishbone in his throat. From the eighth century, he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat.  He was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron combs, and beheaded. He is the patron saint of wool combers.


The inside of the Emirta San Blas

The fiesta starts on the evening of the 2nd February.  It begins with a large bonfire in the square outside the Ermita San Blas, in years gone by, the villagers would bring broken furniture, brambles and general fire making wood to the square to use as firewood, this year it was mainly olive and oak.   Children are given long sticks that have been in the fire, (once cooled down) and the cold charcoal is smudged onto the children's faces. Children run around playing and the heat from the fire warms the adults standing around chatting.  It’s a HUGE fire, smack bang in the plaza next to the wooden roofed church, wooden doors and several houses.  Health and safety are not big issues during fiesta times.

Ribbons are traditionally worn around the neck, as San Blas is said to cure the ills of the throat. 

There are several colours, the black is worn by Widows, red is traditional colour worn by other adults and the other two colours are worn by children.  The ribbon is given to be worn around the neck for the nine days following the blessing.

In the days leading up to the Fiesta San Blas, local ladies spend time preparing cakes and sweets These are Escaldones, fried nuégados. These are similar to a flat fried doughnut, sugar coated and OKish the eve of San Blas, these cakes are displayed for all to see. 

The following day they become part of the main event.

On the actual day of San Blas as is traditional in most fiestas, there is a procession through the village.  We took our position in the plaza outside the Ermita San Blas.

Local TV interviewing locals

 All evidence of the previous night’s bonfire had disappeared.  The sound of music and singing wafted down into the square and the ladies and children of the village appeared in their traditional costumes of the area.  These skirts and petticoats are hand embroidered and many have been handed down from one generation to another.  The matching shoes are gorgeous

The ladies, position a circular headpiece on their heads, on which they balance a wooden board that is covered with handmade and embroidered lace cloth’s, on top of this they carry desserts made by the village women. 

The women carry these through the village with great skill preventing them from falling to the ground as they dance and sing to the band.  The children come first and are supported by their parents, but as the procession continues the older girls and ladies follow, and dance and sing to the music, how the cakes stay on I will never know, there must have been the odd mishap over the years.
A brief stop in the Main Plaza, where folks dance and sing and then the procession continues in all its colourful glory.

I could have watched this couple dance all day................................

I am hoping that the young will grow up and continue these long traditions, many of which we 
have lost over the years in the UK...............................

Saturday, December 26

All things Christmas:- Turkey Chickens Ducks and Goats........................................

The run up to Christmas 2015 has been very busy here on the Finca.  This past month has seen us helping friends collect olives,  preparing for Christmas and also sorting out paperwork for my social security payments,  which  will now give us state health cover while we are living here in Spain.


Christmas is a difficult time for anyone when your family is far away, be they in another town or another country.  This year I found it harder, since our grandson who was born earlier this year would be celebrating his first Christmas.  However it is important to get things into perspective, there are many people in the world with far worse issues than being away from family at Christmas, you only have to watch the TV and see the appalling pictures of families fleeing war zones, people living in areas suffering from natural disasters to realise that it is more important to be grateful for the life you have and that all your loved ones wherever they are, are healthy, safe and happy............Christmas really is only ONE day in the year, its about the birth of Christ, it is not about how we see and treat each other on one individual day in a year, it is  about how we treat each other for the other 364 days that is what  really counts    I will be returning to the UK next week for 10 days and will have my December 25th with my family early in January but my thoughts are with them the whole 365 days of the year.


The olive harvest here is almost finished, Blane spent at least 7 seven days helping Miguel collect his, and we both went over and bashed 7 trees to help some other friends.


Getting our Social Security sorted was not really difficult, but was a drawn out affair, it took 4 trips to Caceres ( the main city here in the Province of Caceres).  Eventually the nice man stamped the paperwork and now we are covered by state health care here in Spain.


Christmas day 2015 has seen additions to the Finca family.

 Christmas day was a busy day, but the weather was stunning, the sunshine was warm and so in the morning, once the dinner was prepped and in the oven, I took 10 minutes out  with a glass of bucks Fizz on the terrace.  Delicious.................

Sunshine Bucks Fizz

We had friends for Christmas dinner and they were keen to have a  traditional English Christmas dinner, which went down surprisingly well, although the bread sauce took a little persuasion to taste!  But the Baileys chocolate cheesecake took no persuasion and disappeared in a flash. 

Once of the easiest no cook cheesecakes I have made, it was lovely........... 

Cheesecake recipe  

Having eaten the usual obscene amount of Christmas food, I decided to walk off  lunch  with Abuelo (Granddad)  as he wanted to see the Goats.  All three Goats were happily munching on hay in the delightful Christmas day sunshine  and all was fine and peaceful just as it should be at this time of year. The chickens and the ducks all enjoyed scratching around the finca, it was like a warm spring day, nothing like a cold traditional Christmas card scene at all

Meg enjoying Christmas day sleeping in the sunshine

Two hours later, after our friends had left and Darkness was setting in, it was time to go down to the enclosure and lock up the chickens and ensure the goats were stocked up with Hay and water.  
Torch in hand off I trotted, I could hear bleating, which is not that unusual, but this bleat was high pitched. Sweeping the torch light around, there was Georgia and beside her was a little tiny black shape, shaking and wet. Of course I was in my best Sunday dress, so I had to race back to the house, grab a towel, shove on an old rag, raced back down, dried off the kid and took both mum and baby into the goat house, checked them both over, and all seemed well. Baby bleated  mum looked bewildered and I was in a daze.  Animals are amazing, I was worried before hand, as I had read terrible stories and had lists yards long as to what to and what not to do, at the end of the day she coped on her own.  Big thanks to a Facebook friend, Experience Olvera who was on the end of the phone, telling me what I should look out for.

Today, Boxing day, mother and baby doing very well, baby is suckling well and I have established that IT is a HE so we have a buckling.  He will be castrated by the age of 10 weeks, that way we can keep him, goats can breed from a very young age and I do not want any more goats than we potentially will have by the end of January.

The other two goats are Martha and Billy,  I am pretty certain Billy is pregnant and I think, a very novice think, is possibly going to give birth in the next week. Martha I am still not sure about, she is a wait and see,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

This is Billy..............Thinking she is due very soon

PS the heading says, All things Turkey, Chickens Ducks and Goats...........The Turkey... well he was in the oven

Sunday, December 13

Back in October I said we may have pregnant goats, well we now know we have one definite pregnant goat, and the other two are  more than likely pregnant .So come Xmas we are going to be busy delivering babies

This is Georgia who is Definitely pregnant and is due any time within the next 4 weeks.  I am now undertaking a crash course in Kidding and have learnt stuff like

  • Drenching

  • Having short nails

  • Birth presentations

I have taken endless pictures of Goats bottoms and basically am turning into a Goat nerd. Or a 

Obviously as soon as we have news we will post it here.

Other additions to the old homestead are three Brahma chickens.

The Brahma chicken is appreciated for its great size, strength, and vigor. They are a gentle giant', soft feathered heavy breed that treat everyone as a friend they haven't met yet. They are large birds that are profusely feathered, including profuse foot feathering. They are a breed that I always wanted to own, and successfully managed to find them here in Spain.  We have a make and two females.  They are very young and the moment but growing fast.  

Here is a fully grown boy 

and here are my little guys......sitting in the Goat shed

The other additions are three Khaki Campbell ducks

They are such fun to watch and enjoy their pond immensely, again they are young so no eggs yet but we live in hope.

Thats it for the moment..  My next blog post should bring news of new life!